Trust and Treason

Margaret Birkhead, Author St. Martin's Press $19.95 (383p) ISBN 978-0-312-05525-7
Far out in the Sussex countryside the prolific Woodfall family, prospering from advantageous marriages,, feels removed from the political intrigue that marks the rule of Elizabeth I. In fact, young Thomas Woodfall early found favor with the man-wary Princess Elizabeth for his lack of guile. Other family members include twin brothers with differing allegiances; as well as a half-sister of Romany heritage who fosters a child of the court named Robert Cooper, who will be both persecutor and savior when the family is maliciously accused of an attempt to assassinate the queen. In this complex tale we follow the ascendancy of Elizabeth through the career of Cooper, who becomes a valued member of the queen's intelligence service. A double agent, charged with ``keeping this country at peace and Protestant,'' Cooper is a chillingly attractive character whose ambiguous but credible bravado dominates the final chapters of this fast-moving first novel, which won England's Historical Novel Prize, in memory of Georgette Heyer, in 1989. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
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